United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss. Dkt. #8. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's
claims should be dismissed in their entirety, with prejudice,
because Defendant has sovereign immunity, Plaintiff failed to
properly exhaust his administrative remedies, and Plaintiff
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Id. Plaintiff opposes the motion. Dkt. #9. For the
reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's claim will be
16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the small claims
division of the King County District Court, seeking $1000 in
damaged for the destruction of his documents. Dkt. #1-3. The
complaint arises out of an October 13, 2017, meeting between
Plaintiff and Defendant. Id. Defendant Khanna is the
Constituent Services and Outreach Coordinator for
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, U.S. Representative for the
seventh congressional district of Washington. Dkt. #1 at
¶ 2. In that capacity, Mr. Khanna routinely interacts
with constituents as Congresswoman Jayapal's
representative. Id. at ¶ 3. According to
Plaintiff, he sought assistance from the Congresswoman and
met with Mr. Khanna “to present the case of two U.S.
Postal workers in Seattle . . . who [allegedly] committed
illegal acts against [him].” Dkt. #1-3 at 2. According
to Plaintiff, those postal workers refused to deliver his
passport and other documents in 2007 and 2008. Id.
Plaintiff asserts that he sought Mr. Khanna's assistance
by asking him to scan documents related to his allegations
and deliver them to the Post Office. Dkts. #1-3 and #9. He
asserts that he provided Defendant with three envelopes of
original documents and other evidence that were susbsequently
destroyed instead of being returned to him. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that “Mr. Raman [Khanna] deliberately
destroyed all of the documents.” Dkt. #1-3. He seeks
$1, 000.00 in damages for the emotional distress he suffered
upon learning his documents had been shredded.
19, 2018, Defendant removed the complaint to the United
States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Dkt. #1. The instant motion followed.
Motions for Lack of Jurisdiction under 12(b)(1)
courts are tribunals of limited jurisdiction and may only
hear cases authorized by the Constitution or a statutory
grant. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
America, 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d
391 (1994). The burden of establishing subject-matter
jurisdiction rests upon the party seeking to invoke federal
jurisdiction. Id. Once it is determined that a
federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
has no choice but to dismiss the suit. Arbaugh v. Y &
H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d
1097 (2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”).
Motion to Dismiss under 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), all allegations of material
fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut.
Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). However,
the court is not required to accept as true a “legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). The Complaint “must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 678. This
requirement is met when the plaintiff “pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. Absent facial plausibility,
Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570.
Court first addresses Defendant's argument that this
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear
Plaintiff's claim because it is barred by the doctrine of
sovereign immunity. Dkt. #8 at 3-6. Unless the government
waives its immunity, claims for monetary damages against the
federal government are barred by sovereign immunity.
United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538, 100
S.Ct. 1349, 63 L.Ed.2d 607 (1980). Suits against government
officials in their official capacity are suits against the
government, and are therefore barred by sovereign immunity.
Balser v. Dept. of Justice, Office of U.S. Tr., 327
F.3d 903, 907 (9th Cir. 2003). However, in Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971), the Supreme
Court recognized the right to collect monetary damages for
constitutional violations perpetrated by ...